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Savita Punia-led India women's hockey team beat Netherlands 2-1 in FIH Pro League

India's Neha Goyal celebrates after scoring a goal against the Netherlands. (PC: Hockey India)
India's Neha Goyal celebrates after scoring a goal against the Netherlands. (PC: Hockey India)
Hari Kishore M

The Indian women's hockey team, led by Savita Punia, beat The Netherlands for the first time in more than a decade. They beat the Dutch side 2-1 in their FIH Pro League match on Friday.

Neha Goyal (11') and Sonika (28') scored for India while Jansen Yibbi scored one for the Dutch in the 40th minute. Both Indian goals came from penalty corners.

This was India's fourth win in the FIH Pro League. The win took India to the second spot in the standings with 15 points from seven games. Meanwhile the Netherlands continued to lead the table with 17 points from as many matches.

With the win, India avenged the 1-5 drubbing against the Netherlands in the pool stage of the Tokyo Games.

Even though India enjoyed more possession, the Netherlands were the better side in terms of circle penetration, shots on goal and penalty corners. The Netherlands had 30 circle penetrations, 13 shots on goal and seven penalty corners. Whereas, India had 12 circle penetrations, five shots on goal and three set pieces.

Read: FIH Hockey Pro League 2022: "Our approach will remain same as always and we will focus on ourselves" - Indian captain Savita Punia

The Netherlands are playing with a second-string side, none from their successful Olympic gold medal winning squad.

The Savita Punia-led team were also without three key players - Lalremsiami, Salima Tete and Sharmila Devi. They are playing in the FIH Junior Women's World Cup.

Savita Punia keeps Netherlands attack at bay

The Indians took the lead from their first real attack of the match, which came off a penalty corner through an alert Neha. She deflected home from Navneet Kaur's pass after the initial effort was kept out by the Dutch defense.

Early into the second quarter, Rajwinder missed a golden opportunity to double India's lead. With only the Dutch goalkeeper to beat, she sent her shot wide.

Also read: Savita Punia hopes for good year in Indian hockey

Two minutes from half-time, India doubled their lead from another penalty corner through Sonika. She calmly slotted home following a goalmouth scramble.

Ten minutes into the third quarter, the Netherlands secured a penalty corner. It resulted in a penalty stroke after the ball hit Monika's body in front of goal. India captain and goalkeeper Savita Punia guessed the direction right. But she couldn't keep away Yibbi's shot as the Netherlands reduced the margin to 1-2.

Thereafter, the Dutch women put the Indian defense under tremendous pressure with continuous raids. However, the home team's defense and Savita Punia stood like a rock to garner three points and a rare win over the Netherlands.

Also read: Hockey: Technical officer Sonia Bathla looking forward to Commonwealth Games


Edited by Aditya Singh

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